Disclaimer: not really

AN: So here it is. Don't kill me. Sorry to all who thought this was an actual update. I accidentally deleted the last chapter and had to re-upload it.



Alex Rider is complex. I told you. Most never realized, those who he interacted with, both at home, in school, and on missions, but Alex has never been normal or simple. He couldn't have been. Not after all those experiences, and many more. The things he went through, the decisions he made- that's why he is the way he is, has done the things he has done.

That's why, when his uncle died suddenly from a supposed car accident, his response was to find out what really happened.

That's why, when he found out Ian had been lying to him his whole life, he felt more understanding than shock. The pieces at last fit into place.

That's why, when he was finally introduced to his 'true calling' and took his first mission, he accepted, not really all that surprised.

That's why, when he was treated so badly, pushed so hard at Brecon Beacons, he just held his tongue, kept his head high, pushed on, and overcame it all.

That's why, when he encountered death, violence, cruelty, sadism, and evil in the face, he just glared right back. And won.

That's why, when he heard about the drug dealer slowly taking over his school, he dropped them, boat and all, onto the authorities.

That's why, when Sarov wanted to adopt him, it barely even crossed his mind as a real option.

That's why, when he was blackmailed, manipulated, and lied to he was furious, but resigned.

That's why, when Sabina left for America with hardly a goodbye- it hurt, a lot- he let her go, with a small, weary smile, and let her have a life he never could.

That's why, when he heard Julia Rothman's evidence-backed explanation, he went all the way to Mrs. Jones' apartment, gun cocked and ready to killer her. But still couldn't do it.

That's why, when his classmates stared at his scars, the circle's under his eyes, when they whispered about him, and turned away; Alex didn't seem to notice. And in time didn't care.

That's why, when he woke in the hospital, a gaping hole in his chest, he winced, sighed, and rolled his eyes.

That's why, when he was faced with choices of easy or right, he sacrificed all for what was right. Again and again.

That's why, when he met up with his long-lost godfather, who had never bothered to be in his life, and didn't seem to ever want to, Alex didn't expect anything permanent. He just asked to know a bit more about his parents.

That's why, when Agent 'Fox' Daniels showed back up, Alex accepted him as a friend, forgetting their past. He had too many regrets and too few friends to hold grudges.

That's why, when he was staring down at a dead traitor, his wounded partner/friend being carried away on the edge of death, and the Australian's question ringing in his ears, he merely said; "That was nobody."

That's why, when he was plagued with vicious nightmares, he never cried out, never made noise louder than his gasping breath as he sat rigidly in cold sweat. In the mornings, Jack only knew about them by the lingering smell of vomit in the bathroom, the cold, half emptied coffee pot, and Alex, himself, as he headed to the shower, still panting from an intense, several-hour workout.

That's why, when he was held prisoner and tortured nigh to death by Doctor Three, on the anniversary of his Scorpia mission, he took a moment to laugh at the irony. His captors, an illegal, experimental organization, thought he had finally broke. The next day he sped away in a stolen car, their headquarters in flames behind him. He laughed again.

That's why, when the psychiatrist asked him how and why he did what he did, really, he just shrugged. He wasn't being difficult, he just couldn't explain. It was just who he was.

That's why, when Tom told Alex, by email, that he was leaving to live with his brother- that he couldn't pick between his divorced parents and that he hardly saw Alex now, anyways- Alex wrote back that he made the right choice. Wrote that he hoped Tom enjoyed the new area, that he made friends, that they could still write, and to not worry about it. Brookland never heard a full sentence from Alex again.

That's why, when Smithers handed him a small, high-class, silenced gun, his first 'official' weapon, he exchanged a smirk with his large friend, and instead took it home for Jack and taught her how to use it. He already had several for himself.

That's why, when he got Ben's Christmas card, a joyful picture of him, his wife, and their two kids, Alex was almost glad that the bullet he had taken during the Snakehead mission had cost him an arm. That family didn't deserve a spy's life. (1)

That's why, when he was expelled from Brookland for incapacitating an assassin teacher, he pushed all regrets behind firm walls.

That's why, when his leg was broken in four places he was grateful for the forced reprieve from missions, but was anxious, tense, and frustrated with his own vulnerability the entire eight weeks.

That's why, when he was unable to take, and consequently failed, his GCSEs, because he was in Cario, undercover for a month, he resolutely took accelerated summer classes by himself, and passed with flying grades.

That's why, when they tried to use a couple of terrified children, no older than four or five, as leverage to make him join their rebellion, Alex shot the sadistic rogues down, point blank in the forehead, without hesitation.

That's why, when she said "sleep with me or die," and being dead wasn't an option on such a critical mission, he numbly did what he had to. Later, as he tuned out Blunt congratulating him on "another job well done," Alex thought, feeling nauseous, that his 'first time' had been special in one way; it had saved the world again.

That's why, when he turned seventeen the day he was left to die on a small, abandoned island off the Philippines, he didn't even realize until three days later when he was back at headquarters being debriefed and Mrs. Jones asked if he had enjoyed his birthday.

That's why, when the Presidents of Syria, the United States, Azerbaijan, Japan, Nicaragua, and South Africa, the King of Morocco, and other world leaders all wanted to give him awards for services to their countries, he politely declined with "I was only doing what had to be done."

That's why, when he watched the light leave Jack's eyes, her blood pooling on the floor, he –still- didn't loose control. In less than five minutes, all three 'mastermind' captors and six guards were incapacitated and Alex was carrying Jack out to help.

That's why, when the medics informed him that she was undoubtedly gone, he calmly walked back to the room where their captors were just beginning to wake up. He picked up a gun. Then, he lost control. Blunt was frustrated that there was so few left to question.

That's why, when his life, never the most glorious to begin with, had completely fallen apart in every single way, Alex sighed, wiped away the traitorous tear, squared his shoulders. And moved on.

That's why we can live our lives. Because he's given his.

~\/\/ |-| `/ ~

(1) So I know that the book says he'll be alright, but… MI6 has lied before, and I wanted it this way.

I hope you all liked it. Not the most cheerful fic out there I suppose… but it was a rather different spin than people usually write AR. The norm is the "his eyes look so dead, he's changed so much, he can never be normal again" spin. But this gives a new perspective, eh?

Well it's done. Feels nice to finally have a completed story. Let me know what you think!